Please join me as I interview Jessica Degarmo.
I like to start my interviews with some basic let’s get to know you a little questions; so share with us where you were born and raised?
I was born and raised in Upstate New York, in a little town called Elmira. We’re actually famous for the women astronaut Eileen Collins, the football player Ernie Davis, and Hal Roach. My mom went to high school with Tommy Hilfiger.
Where are you living now?
When I turned nineteen, I move d to northwestern Pennsylvania, and I still live here with my husband, Travis, and our kids, thirteen year old Tyler, ten year old Lauren and seven year old Rylan. They’re wonderful!
“How To Meet A Guy at The Supermarket’ is your first book, what prompted you to write it?
There were a few things that prompted me to write Supermarket. I’ve always loved to write, and throughout the years, I’ve started a lot of stuff. But a trip to the Outer Banks was rather inspiring and I found myself thinking of the area long after leaving. Then, I was in a grocery store one day, and I felt very detached from the action, like I was standing on a ladder watching people mingle, converse, and shop. I wondered what would happen if two people who happened to be shopping at the same time found themselves attracted to each other. What would they do to gain the other’s attention?
Quinn is a delightful, warm and whacky character, is she based on someone you know? Or is she a collective of people you have met perhaps?
Wow. I guess you could say that Quinn is me. I look pretty much the same, extra few pounds and all, and my sense of humor is identical. Although I’m now happily married, I understand loneliness, and I know the lengths that some people will go through to find a connection. Quinn embodies my innermost insecurities and pluck, I’d like to think.
How much of you is invested in her character?
Well, I tend to be very introspective, so first person was very easy for me. I didn’t distance myself from her at all. Rather, I wondered how I would handle her predicaments, and tried to make her do what I thought I might, in my younger, brave, single days. One thing I’m not is shy!
This is written in first person, not an easy thing to do…did you have any problem distancing yourself from the characters?
Well, I tend to be very introspective, so first person was very easy for me.
You work in an Insurance office, and sing with a classic rock band… a very full life even without the writing, how do you manage your time?
Well, between work and school (yes, I’m also a part-time college student, non-traditional of course) and the band, and the country music radio station I DJ for, I’m strapped for time. I’ve had a lot of late nights where I’ve sat up past one o’clock in the morning furiously typing to get my ideas down. I guess it’s a good thing I’m a fast typist!
Tell us a little about the band and the types of music you perform.
My band is called Department 24. We play classic rock and oldies, and our website is as www.dept-24.com. My dad is the bass player, and I’m the lead singer. We have a lot of fun!
Are you a writer who schedules her time…or must you write as the muse dictates?
It’s not unusual for my husband to wake up at five o’clock in the morning, and find me at the computer, having woken up in the middle of the night with an idea. Plus, I tend to take a few hours when I can on the weekends to write and revise, write and revise. Ah, the joys of editing!
Music is clearly important in your life, did the love of music come first or the writing?
Oh, boy. Music or writing? Well, I’ve been singing and writing for as long as I can remember. I used to have to sing on demand for my relatives. It was weird! I just seriously started writing this year. I’m still amazed that Supermarket went from idea to published in 11 months. Some days I have to pinch myself!
Do you listen to music as you write, or do you like silence?
As far as listening to music when I write, I don’t. I have a hard time concentrating with a lot of distractions. Needless to say, with a family, there’s a lot of noise. I value silence. Sometimes I’ll even drive to work in the morning with my car radio turned off. Some of my better ideas have come to me that way.
You also have another completed book, tell us about “Hooking Up.”
Hooking Up is a book about Caitlin, a woman who is damaged goods. She was recently dumped by her long-term boyfriend and she’s now struggling with the loneliness that threatens to all but overwhelm her.
One night in a bar, her friend suggest a hook-up, a one-night stand guaranteed to cure her blues and make her feel like a powerful woman again.
Catie resists. It’s not who she is. But eventually, crushed by the silence of her apartment and her overwhelming need for affection, she succumbs.
Ryan Ashford, her man of the hour, is a cop with troubles of his own, and he aims to make Caitlin his. This book is about a lot more than casual sex. It touches on themes of acceptance, trust, child abuse, commitment, and the true meaning of family. Throughout the book, Catie deals with the untimely death of her parents, the scorn of her grandmother, and Ryan’s ex-wife Nancy, a woman with an agenda who threatens to remove Benjie from Ryan forever. It’s definitely more serious than Supermarket, but it has its share of lighthearted moments.
You have several other Wips let’s see there are, “Decisions”, and “Worth. Where are you with these; partially complete or done?
Decisions is at about 30,000 words, and Worth is at about 7500. I have a long way to go! Worth is written in first person, but Decisions is written in third. It’s harder than I thought it would be!
Your central characters are all mainly females, each different yet I’m seeing a pattern of the seemingly weak female who progresses to strength and innate toughness as the stories progress. Is that a deliberate attitude that you employ for your female characterizations?
Well, yes, I admire women who overcome what life throws at them with poise, grit, and a great deal of humor. I’d like to think that I’m the same way. I’ve been through my share of hardships, and I try like heck to bounce back. One of my favorite themes in Hooking Up is perseverance. Catie’s sensei has a quote that he instills in his karate students: Fall seven times, get up eight. That’s a wonderful bit of advice, and I think my characters really demonstrate it.
Have you been surprised to find that men also enjoy reading your books?
I guess I do find it surprising that men have read and enjoyed my stuff. I write chick-lit. There’s no mistaking that. But maybe the guys want to find out how we tick, and reading about us, and our innermost thoughts and feelings can only help…maybe!
Where do you see yourself both personally and professionally in 2011?
Oh, Boy. I have no idea! 2010 was a wonderful year for me. I knew it would be. I felt it from January 1st. If 2011 is anything like this year, then I’m in for a heck of a ride and a great year!
The publishing world is changing even as I type this, rapid fire change with the introduction of Ebooks, please share your thoughts on the ebook phenomena?
Ebooks are great. I think that it would be very handy, and a great deal less bulky, to have 200 books loaded into one small device. I prefer traditional paperbacks, but I think that environmentally speaking, and for sheer convenience, Ebooks are the wave of the future. I hope to always be able to visit libraries, but I think that as more people realize the convenience of electronic formatting, there will be a lot of changes.
Do you ever envision a time when Paperbacks will only be found on library shelves?
I hope to always be able to visit libraries, but I think that as more people realize the convenience of electronic formatting, there will be a lot of changes.
Do you have a favorite author/authors and why are they favorites with you?
My favorite authors are Lavyrle Spencer, because she is the master, in my eyes, of creating meaningful work that is as lovely to read as it is to learn from, and Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. She’s just amazing, and I love the world she’s created. My other favorite is Dr. James Herriott, a Yorkshire veterinarian who wrote these amazing, gentle memoirs about his life and his vet practice. He’s my hero, warm, caring, kind, and amazingly humorous.
Plug time…please list below any sites where my readers can access your works to either read excerpts and of course buy your wonderful “How to Meet A Guy at The Supermarket.”
Well, Hooking Up is in full at http://www.authonomy.com/
, and I also have a blog where I sometimes post random stuff at http://www.jessicadegarmo.com/.
Supermarket is at amazon.com, Smashwords, and some other places, I think. Soon it’ll be available on kindle.
Thanks so much for joining me Jessica…I look forward to interviewing you again a year from now. I think 2011 is going to be huge for you.
Oh, Soooz. Thanks so much for your interview. You are wonderful and gracious as always.
Amazon reviews: By T. Hewtson LE ROUX -
This review is from: How To Meet A Guy At The Supermarket (Paperback)
Having been educated in more or less all-male establishments between the ages of 7 and 22 (well, Cambridge University was 24 males to each female at the time), I have to admit to a certain fondness for well-written chick-lit while I still try to understand how women's minds work in relation to love and romance some 30 years later.
The central core of any romance tale has to be that you actually want the girl and the boy to get all hot and sweaty together somewhere around the last chapter, whilst knowing that almost everything will get in their way en route.
As in Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility', the problem here is that Quinn is looking down all the wrong aisles and taking some pretty dubious advice from friends.
The great thing about this book is that psychologically it rings much more true than its more manufactured chick-lit cousins. I don't know if Jessica really writes a column on travel and dating, or whether she has indeed picked up men in supermarkets, but the more I read, the more I came to believe that this was a thinly disguised documentary.
So, not only do I thoroughly recommend this book, but I shall pay much more attention down my local Tesco's or Co-Op from now on. There may even be a 2-for-1 offer at one of the gondola ends.
Love, Laughter and Mayhem., November 7, 2010
This review is from: How To Meet A Guy At The Supermarket (Paperback)
Ahh...thank You! What an absolutely delightful, warm, funny and yes, un-put-downable book.
Author Jessica L Degarmo is to be congratulated, I have read many chick lit romances, and enjoyed some of them...this little gem is memorable...because the author has made it so.
Meet Quinn, a single girl in a married world.She is lonely, sweet, and decidedly whacky, whilst in ailse 4 of her local supermarket she has an 'epiphany' ...
If women can meet tall, dark, handsome, and clean men, perhaps the love of their lives... in a laundromat, and then have a wedding that smells of 'fabric softener' then why not in the fresh produce aisle at the supermarket?...Why not capture an 'artichoke heart with an asparagus spear'? Why not indeed.
This book will make you smile, cringe, and laugh out loud.
The character of Quinn is a lovely young woman that the female readers will want as a friend, and the guys will want as their girl.
It is difficult to write humour, Ms. Degarmo makes it appear simple. This book is an absolute gem and deserves to do well. I consider this to be a terrific idea for a Christmas gift. Perfect for male and female friends alike. Well done! I think we will be hearing much more from this talented author.
More Reviews on "How to meet A Guy at The Supermarket."
What a Delightful "Feel Good" story you share. I love the hopeful premise and concept.
In fact I am going to demand my little single assistant read this story. It is refreshing, even for second-time -arounders, gently aging.
I understand it will be published as it should be...
The humor is fabulous the character right down to Quinn's friends are delightful, but real. I have visited the Outer Banks, it is a rather unique area of ecclectics , not over the top, you depict the atmosphere well.
Christina McClean wrote
Love every bit of this, from the humour, to the descriptions, to the character who is so honest, desperate, funny, intelligent. One of my daydreams has been to meet a guy in a supermarket - you have made a story which is so easy to relate to, an easy comfortable funny read.
So I decided to pause for a moment after gliding along through to the fifth chapter; I was there before I knew it! I think your story is absolutely hilarious! The concept is so simple-- but how many people would actually think to write about it, and how many would actually be able to do so in such a way that people would actually be interested in it? You have managed to do both, and have done a marvelous job of it. :)
I myself don't usually read books like this, but something about yours makes it hard to put down. Quinn is very real and likeable, and I find it very easy to step into her shoes and view her world through her eyes. I love the ideas that she comes up with, and am definitely going to continue to follow along to see if she actually succeeds in her quest to find true love at the food lion. I am definitely backing your book; I only wish that I had found it sooner!
Linda Lou wrote
Hullo Jessica. I am stopping to comment at ch. 7 and I have to admit this is so funny. and when that woman at the checkout smelled pickles, oh, I burst out laughing. thank heavens that I am alone in my office. this is great and a topic which many of us females has faced one time or another. Very good!